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Progress in Human Reproduction Research. 1996; (37):2-8.Research can never be an end in itself. Its role is to assess if change is needed and, if it is, to determine just what change is required and how it can best be brought about. That is why the communication of research results is so important. Various groups need research findings, and need them quickly, so that they can act on the findings to bring about change. The Programme has always placed a good deal of emphasis on communication but, because of the growing importance of this area of influence, it has adopted a new information dissemination and communication strategy for the present biennium 1996-1997. The strategy is target-oriented and thus enables the Programme to focus its information and communication activities on those areas where they will have maximum impact. (excerpt)
Women's preferences for vaginal antimicrobial contraceptives IV. Attributes of a formulation that would protect from STD / AIDS.
CONTRACEPTION. 1998 Oct; 58(4):251-5.Market research conducted in Campinas, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in 1996-97 investigated the attributes that potential users considered acceptable and unacceptable in a vaginal antimicrobial contraceptive. 635 women from two age groups (adolescent and adult) and two socioeconomic groups (low and middle/high) were enrolled. 99% of respondents indicated a preference for a vaginal formulation that provided dual protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. Overall, 40% of women stated they would use a dual protective method even if it was messy. Acceptance of messiness was lowest (35%) among adolescent respondents. Irritation, itching, swelling, or burning were unacceptable side effects to the vast majority of women. 96% would use a vaginal method if it could only be inserted with an applicator, but this rate dropped to 75% if the method required manual insertion. 55% would use the method if it appeared on their partner's penis. Overall, 50% would accept a method that required refrigeration during very warm days--but rates were higher among adult women and those of low socioeconomic status. There was a clear preference for a formulation that was transparent or had a very light color. About 45% of women were willing to pay up to US$5 for each application of the product, while another third said they would pay $1. Socioeconomic status did not exert an effect on price considerations, confirming the importance to all women of protection against both pregnancy and STDs.
Women's preferences for vaginal antimicrobial contraceptives III. Choice of a formulation, applicator, and packaging.
CONTRACEPTION. 1998 Oct; 58(4):245-9.New vaginal antimicrobial contraceptives are under development to provide women with a means of protection against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, under their control. A descriptive study conducted in Campinas, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in 1996-97 assessed the preferences of 635 adolescent and adult women from low, middle, and high socioeconomic groups in terms of dosage forms, width, length, applicator color, and packaging. 38-40% of women in the two age and two social class groups indicated a preference for a gel formulation and about 18% favored a cream. A film was the least acceptable formulation. The main reasons given for selecting a particular vaginal formulation were ease of use (39%), no or pleasant odor (27%), no color (23%), ability to use an applicator for insertion (21%), no requirement to wait for the product to dissolve (15%), non-messiness (13%), and ease of storage and transport (12%). The main reasons for rejecting a formulation were discomfort (32%), plastic appearance (25%), mistrust of the method's effectiveness (22%), insertion difficulties (19%), and messiness (13%). A prefilled single-dose applicator was preferred by about 60% of respondents. These findings can be used to guide the development of novel products that are easy and fast to use as well as effective and acceptable.
Women's preferences for vaginal antimicrobial contraceptives II. Preferred characteristics according to women's age and socioeconomic status.
CONTRACEPTION. 1998 Oct; 58(4):239-44.Efforts to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have focused on woman-controlled vaginal methods. To identify the characteristics women prefer in a new vaginal contraceptive method and thereby guide product development, a descriptive study of 635 women from Campinas, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, was conducted in 1996-97. A total of 310 women were 15-19 years of age and 325 were 20-45 years old. The two age groups were further divided so that half the women were of low socioeconomic status and half were of middle or high status. Most women in the 4 subgroups (73.5-82.8%) selected the vaginal cream over a suppository for the preferred form of an ideal vaginal formulation. A clear or white-colored product with no taste or odor was preferred. Almost all women wanted the method to protect against STDs as well as pregnancy. More than 80% of women in all 4 subgroups preferred to use an applicator to insert the formulation before coitus. More than half the women wanted a method with a duration of effectiveness of 8 hours to eliminate the need for reapplication. Preferences did not differ significantly according to the respondent's age or socioeconomic status.
CONTRACEPTION. 1998 Oct; 58(4):233-8.New women-controlled vaginal antimicrobial contraceptives are of interest because of their potential to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, as well as unwanted pregnancy. However, development of such products requires more information on how women feel about the characteristics of these methods and the dosage forms they prefer. This paper describes the evolution of the methodology for subject recruitment and interviewing that was used in a descriptive consumer preference study conducted in Campinas, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in 1996-97. After preparation of a questionnaire, a pilot study was performed to evaluate it, to establish the interview technique, and to determine the optimal method for subject recruitment. Based on the results, an approach was selected and applied to 635 women from different age and socioeconomic groups. In both the pilot and actual studies, women were shown one marketed vaginal contraceptive at a time--gel, cream, foam, film, tablet, or ovule--and asked their opinions and ideas about changes that could be made to improve existing products. This experience confirmed that it is feasible to identify consumers' preferences for characteristics of products that do not yet exist.
[Unpublished] 1989. Presented at the IIDSS Conference, August 18-20, 1989.  p.The author explains the operations of and rationale behind the Social Marketing for Change (SOMARC) project of the Futures Group. Using indigenous private sector company commercial channels in developing countries, SOMARC helps develop advertising campaigns and other marketing approaches to sell branded condoms, oral contraceptives, vaginal foaming tablets, and sometimes IUDs. Commercial marketing research techniques are employed in these exercises, and include developing and evaluating advertising and marketing strategies, designing and testing advertising messages, and selecting and improving product names and packaging for their contraceptive products. Although technical assistance is generally required in most countries, local companies are nonetheless depended upon to develop and manage the projects overall. The importance of brand image research in reaching target markets is discussed, followed by examples of testing and evaluating marketing strategies, product names, package testing, and advertising messages.
AMERICAN MEDICAL NEWS. 1990 Oct 19; 7-8.The mission of the Media Project of the Center for Population Options is to encourage the entertainment industry to provide adolescents with positive and realistic message about sexuality and family planning. The project has specifically targeted television as a way to reach teens because they not only watch TV but what they see influences their behavior. According to the project's director, "they emulate their favorite characters." A 1986 Louis Harris poll found that teen-agers ranked TV as the 4th most important source of information, out of 11 choices, on sex and birth control. A study of the 1986 prime-time television season discovered a tremendous amount of sexual references and innuendo in the programs. They found touching behaviors (24.5 times/hour); suggestions and innuendo (16.5 times/hour); sexual intercourse (implied 25 times/hour); and socially taboo behaviors such as sadomasochism and masturbation (intimated 6.2 times/hour). In contrast, education information was only given 1.6 times/hour. There are few references to birth control or responsible conversations about sexual intimacy. The Los Angeles-based media project has 3 program components. These components include a media advisory service that provides creative and technical assistance, an information series designed for consciousness raising, and an awards program. The advisory service sends out background sheets on health-related issues and provides story and script consultation. The information series has inspired industry professionals to integrate messages about teenage sexuality and responsible sex into the TV dramas. The project received 380 requests for information during 1990. The project has also sponsored an annual media awards program since 1983. The awards program is a forum where producers get positive attention for a job well done.